You’ve probably been seeing this sorts of articles all over the interwebs. If so, thanks for reading mine as well.
First things first, my wife and I had our third baby this year. That means I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted. And that’s still the case. I’m lucky to have signed Scoville when I did since we were sort of “between kids.” Since we had our third my homebrewing and board game design endeavors have faded.
But I’m not one to make excuses. Having our third child was our biggest accomplishment of 2014. However, this blog isn’t about babies and being a daddy. It’s about beer and board games. So let’s start with the Barley and see what I actually managed to accomplish…
My goal for homebrewing in 2014 was 6 batches of beer. In that list was a pumpkin ale, an IPA, and a lagered Oktoberfest. I did none of those.
I ended up brewing three batches, one of which is sitting in a carboy waiting to be bottled. The brews were a brown ale called “Nobody Plays Brown,” a hefeweizen called “You’ve Been Wheated,” and the third is a Belgian dubbel called “Rolling Dubbels.” For each I created a beer label, which was quite fun to do. Here are the labels:
The brown ale and hefeweizen are currently in corny kegs in my basement refrigerator. I have a very generous neighbor who has loaned me a bunch of brewing equipment including the kegging stuff. The dubbel is sitting patiently for me to devote an evening to bottling.
Overall I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t brew more. That’s something I’ll try to remedy.
On the consumption end of brewing I had a pretty successful year. I began using UnTappd and have been able to have a great record of the brews I’ve enjoyed. In 2014 I logged 107 distinct beers. That’s a new brew every 3.4 days… not too shabby.
So despite the lack of homebrewing I’d say that it was a successful beer year. It’s unlikely I’ll be able to log 100+ new unique beers in 2015, but I’ll try my best.
Obviously the highlight of my 2014 from a board game perspective was the successful Kickstarter campaign that Tasty Minstrel Games ran for my first published design, Scoville. It raised over $106,000! It was amazing to watch all that support come in during the campaign and I cannot thank all you backers enough.
The next highlight was getting to play Scoville with a final production copy at Gen Con. Punching out the little peppers, holding the pepper shaped bits, and planting and harvesting on the nice thick board with my close friends was a great memory.
On the design front, I didn’t sign any games in 2014. But I blame that on the fact that I didn’t really design any games in 2014. The biggest effort was for The Grand Illusion. This is a game where you are a street performer trying to work your way up to having a big time show in a theater where people come to watch you perform a grand illusion. Thematically it was my favorite game to work on. I love the theme of Victorian era magicians competing over audiences. My efforts for The Grand Illusion included making several prototypes, ordering a deck of cards from The Game Crafter, and playtesting it about a half dozen times. The end result was that it felt like it was lacking. So I shelved it.
Otherwise the only other thing of consequence from 2014 was a new design called Ziggurat. This is a resource management game where players are trying to be the best contributors to build the ziggurat. This game has one of those unique elements which sets it apart. It has been played about a dozen times now. While it plays through to the end, plays smoothly, and players are generally positive about it, it too feels lacking. It currently struggles from a “One path to victory” mentality and is devoid of any catch-up mechanisms. To alleviate that I want to add some private scoring conditions as well as allow scoring via different paths. This will make the game more “Euro-y” as well as more enjoyable. I’m hoping that Ziggurat will become my next signed game and I have big plans for it in 2015.
Unlike beer consumption, which I track with UnTappd, there is no app to track board game plays. Please don’t tell me to use the Board Game Geek site to track my plays as I do not care for that interface. I’ve documented the games I played all year in my Monday Brews articles. However, I do not feel like reading through all of them and trying to figure out how many games I played, let alone how many unique games. It was a lot. But I have one favorite…
2014 Game of the Year – Five Tribes
When my friend Ben and I were in the exhibit hall at Gen Con we wandered past a demo of Five Tribes by Days of Wonder. We were immediately in awe of its beauty. The game simply looks fantastic. As we stood and watched the demo we quickly realized that this would be a good game, and a game we would like to own. Ben went to the counter and asked if they had any left, which they did not. However, he was told that they would have something like 50 or 100 copies the next morning when the exhibit hall opened.
So Ben got in the hall and in line as early as he could and was fortunate enough to snag a copy. His copy has since been played more than any other game by our gaming group.
The game not only has beautiful artwork, but it also has excellent wooden components. The palace and oasis pieces are particularly nice. Days of Wonder has a really excellent game with this one.
Istanbul: This game is clever and interactive. Players move their merchant around the markets in Istanbul trying to purchase or earn rubies. By making clever use of their assistants they create opportunities to earn those rubies. I love that the game is pretty easy to learn and understand while simultaneously creating interesting and deep decisions.
Moon Yeti Games
The final thing of note for this 2014 Year in Review is that three friends and I decided to begin a board game publishing company. We will be Moon Yeti Games and our plans are to publish great games with beautiful art and high quality components.
The highlight of 2014 for Moon Yeti was that we gave away about 100 copies of our first game, Mutiny, at Gen Con. Adam Buckingham designed a 4-card social deduction and back-stabbing game to go on the backs of our business cards. We played it a ton and settled on a design, had them printed, and gave them away at the convention. That was pretty awesome.
Moon Yeti is currently developing a version that goes up to 8 players. We hope to have it for sale through our website over the next few months.
For more information, check out moonyeti.com. Thanks for reading and I wish you a fantastic 2015!
It is with great pleasure that I can announce that several of my friends and I will be starting a new board game publishing company called Moon Yeti Games. (Website up but still under construction).
Our philosophy is that we are enthusiast gamers seeking to publish great games. That’s it. Plain and simple. We love gaming. We love all different kinds of games. But the one thing that will be consistent across all of our games is that they will be great games produced with the highest quality.
So as a fun thing to help with publicity we decided to not just make business cards but rather make business cards that are also a microgame. That’s where the Mutiny begins!
You are the crew of the HMS Moon Yeti. One of you is planning a mutiny. The Mutineer’s goal: to survive while the others attempt to discover you.
Players take on the role of one of the 4 crew members on the ship: Chaplain, Boatswain, Helmsman, or Navigator. Roles are public knowledge, but the identity of the mutineer remains hidden. Over the course of two rounds, players try to discover the mutineer through discussion, accusation, denial, and special actions. The game ends with a vote to convict one player as guilty of mutiny. If the mutineer is voted guilty, all the other players win. Otherwise, the mutineer wins.
Each role has unique abilities that may help reveal the mutineer or allow them to exert control over the the voting. Since any player could be the mutineer, an accusation could be helpful, or a clever attempt to re-direct suspicion elsewhere. Mutiny is a social game with a minimal rule set. The game instead relies on player discussion and interaction to drive the game.
Mutiny was designed by Adam Buckingham. It is simple, clever, and hilarious. This is a game for 4-6 players that takes about 10 minutes to play. Play it in line with friends at your favorite coffee shop. Play it at the bar when your enjoying a nice craft brew. Play it anywhere you want!
CHAPLAIN: The Chaplain is the moral center of the ship. They provides counsel for the virtuous, and cover for the depraved. Crew mates may find themselves compelled to confess their sins, but can rely on the complete discretion of the Chaplain. Desperate crew mates covet the forgiveness that only the Chaplain can provide. Be wary, the Chaplain’s piety may be wielded in an attempt to cover seditious intentions.
BOATSWAIN: The Boatswain is the foreman of the ship’s deck crew. With unprecedented access to crew cabins, crew mates will find it hard to keep their secrets hidden. Bosun keeps ears open and knows how the votes will fall before they are cast. With the rabid loyalty of the crew, there is nothing so dangerous as a defiant Boatswain.
HELMSMAN: The Helmsman steers the ship. While the title puts them a step below the Captain, the crew trusts them more than any other crewmember. The Helmsman’s position manifests as greater influence over the crew’s decisions. A rebellious Helmsman wields a power that is very hard to contain.
NAVIGATOR: The Navigator sets the course for the ship. When the ship isn’t headed in the right direction, it’s the Navigator who sets things right. Holding tight to the tools of their trade, the crew may not recognize a rogue Navigator until it’s too late.
Each character has a first round and second round ability that strongly influence the game. Each time you play it you might be a different character. Or you might be the mutineer. Or the people you are playing with might be terrible liars. There is a lot of fun packed in this 4-card game!
Will You Join The Mutiny?
Here’s the deal… we want to start getting our name out there. So we printed up over 100 copies of Mutiny that we will be handing out at Gen Con. Our goal, through publishing great games, is to become a household name synonymous with gaming awesomeness. We believe Mutiny is an awesome 4-card game and we are excited to hand them out.
If you are so excited about it, we have a PNP available on BoardGameGeek.com. Click here. We’d love to hear what you think and we can definitely answer your questions.
So climb aboard and let’s set sail on this most grand adventure together!